Tips for Freshmen Moving Into Residence

Hey, Class of 2023! Congratulations on reaching the start of your journey as a Golden Hawk. This is always a really exciting time of year, but also a nerve-inducing one full of new things and uncertainty. That’s further amplified if you’re moving into residence. As someone who’s been in your shoes before, I wanted to compile some of my takeaways from my first year as a student living in residence! As such, here are some tips ranging from how to make move-in day as efficient as possible, to making sure you have as much fun as you can!

Arrive early on move-in day!

Move-in day is very busy and chaotic. A bunch of wide-eyed newcomers, all of whom are scrambling trying to find their way in an unfamiliar place? While nothing can completely prevent this day from being stressful, going earlier within your allotted time slot certainly helps. If you’re lucky, you’ll beat some of the rush, and have a bit of time to unpack and settle in before having floor meetings and O-Week events to run off to.

Pack light, if you can.

Not only is moving into residence stressful, it can also be straight up hard. Even though there are two move-in days to try to avoid crowds, you’ll still be one of dozens, if not hundreds moving into your building. Because of that, there can be rules regarding how many trips up the elevator you can use up – that is, if your building even has an elevator. While there will be Icebreakers helping you a bit, you’ll want to try and pack as light as possible to avoid multiple trips in the stairwell. And, if you plan on going home in a week or two anyways, see if there are things that you can wait to bring up. You might find once you get to your room that you don’t have space for everything you’d have brought anyways!

Bring a mattress pad!

I know, I just said to pack lightly, and now I’m saying to bring something super bulky. But trust me when I say that a mattress pad is a very important item to bring with you to residence! The mattresses provided in residence are extremely uncomfortable, and getting a good night’s sleep is vital to being successful in university. Having a mattress pad will help you have the energy you need to survive 8:30am classes.

Try to coordinate with roommates.

If you’re in a single dorm room, this doesn’t really apply to you. For everyone else, I highly recommend trying to find out who you’ll be living with this year! While the university can’t provide you with that information, if you’re lucky you’ll be able to find your future roommate online – try posting in the Class of 2023 Facebook group! Once you know who you’ll be living with, you can decide who’s bringing what (kettle, toaster, etc.). If you hit it off, you might even want to coordinate stuff like the colour scheme for your room! Matching duvet covers ftw.

Learn some basic ‘adulting’ skills before you come!

I remember when I was in residence doing laundry there for the first time, I ended up step-by-step walking a totally clueless guy through how to wash his clothes. I was kind of mind-blown, honestly. How do you get to university, and not know how to do your own laundry? Take advantage of your last few weeks at home, and try to learn some of the basic skills you’ll need as an adult (if you haven’t already): doing laundry, keeping a room clean, budgeting, cooking a simple meal or two, etc. While it’s okay to still be working on improving these skills in university, it’s really helpful to get here with some practice under your belt. You don’t want to be the person burning down the building because you don’t know how to cook your ramen noodles!

If you don’t need to, don’t go home every weekend!

For most university students, this is the first time away from home, and it can be a super difficult transition! It can be tempting to combat that homesick feeling with frequent trips back home, but I recommend avoiding that if possible. University is a great opportunity to embrace your independence and learn how to be self-sufficient, and while it’s hard at first, you’ll quickly adjust to longer periods of time away from home. Also, weekends in residence are the best! Everyone’s out of classes so it’s a way more relaxed environment to hang out with your floor. If you’re home every weekend, you’ll be missing out on fun activities and prime bonding moments. It’s hard to make memories with your floormates if you aren’t actually spending time with them!

Be the roommate/floormate you wish to have.

Picture what life would be like with a bad roommate or floormate. Maybe they’re really messy, or perhaps they are excessively loud. Maybe they invite people over to your room without asking first, or they could just straight up be a rude person. Whatever a bad roommate is to you, make sure you aren’t that person either. Even if you’re in a single room with a bit more privacy, you’re still in quite close proximity to a lot of other people. Make sure you’re being considerate of others, especially if you are expecting the same in return.

Respect and appreciate your don!

Every residence is staffed by a team of residence life dons who work together to manage their assigned building. What does that mean? Dons are responsible for helping you have a positive experience while living in res. They do the obvious, enforcing the rules of residence and keeping the building safe, but they also do a lot more for their students. Dons get to plan activities and socials that help their floors to bond. They provide support to students who might need access to various academic or mental health resources. And, they are there to help in emergency situations! Dons do all of this while still balancing their own academic schedules, and it can be a lot to handle all at once. Make sure that you are always respectful of your don, and recognize all that they do to make your time in res as enjoyable as possible!

Get ready for the rowdy nights.

Despite most of the students in residence being underage, that doesn’t stop many of them from having a good time. It can definitely get loud, especially on certain weekends! Dons typically try their best to keep a handle on things for the students who prefer a quieter evening, but it’s still best to go into first year with the expectation that there will be some wild nights.

Don’t pressure yourself to click with everyone!

Sometimes, the people on your floor or in your apartment will end up being some of your best friends. Sometimes, they won’t. Both are totally fine and normal! One of the great things about university is that there are tons of people out there for you to meet. If you aren’t gelling with the people you live with, just find people you have more in common with! Chat with your classmates, join clubs, and go to different events. Eventually, you will find the perfect group of friends for you.

Be ready to make the most of your year in residence!

Residence throws so many opportunities at you, so make the most of it! Attend floor meetings. Do O-Week stuff together. Make your HOCO plans together. Participate in Hawk Weekend. Join intramurals. Be a part of House Council. Spend a day exploring the area together. When you look back on your time in residence, you don’t want to have regrets about not getting to know people better or not putting yourself out there. Make sure you aren’t closed off to opportunities so that you can have a full residence experience.

Hopefully now, you know a bit of what to expect and how to be prepared going into your year at residence. Most of all, just be excited and have the time of your life!